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Auto blogSun, 24 Feb 2013
There appear to be two takes on Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche having his contract extended for three more years, to 2016. A report in The Detroit News quotes the chairman of Daimler's supervisory board, Manfred Bischoff, talking up the stability at the top, "With today's extensions of the contracts of Dieter Zetsche and Thomas Weber, we are maintaining the important continuity at the top executive level." Bischoff also stated that that Zetsche has a plan to "further enhance Daimler's overall performance."
Over at Reuters, though, the three-year extension was seen as a lack of complete confidence in Zetsche's plans, since his contract was supposedly meant to be extended by five years. A spokesman said the board decided to extend executive contracts by only three years if the person was 60 or would turn 60 during the contract, but that was news to observers. Zetsche wants to make Mercedes-Benz the top selling luxury manufacturer globally by 2020, but has fallen to third place behind Audi and BMW. It hasn't held the top spot 2005, and investors judged it valued at half that of BMW at the end of 2012 once Daimler's truck business was subtracted.
Analysts cites the fact that Daimler stock hasn't bested its rivals but twice in twelve years, and that the company revised its profit target downward last year by nearly one billion euros, warning of stagnant earnings this year and will miss its original margin target for 2013.
Mercedes-Benz has kindly let loose the price of the 2015 GLA-Class, telling Autoblog.com that the base 208-horsepower GLA250 in two-wheel drive will go for $31,300 *not including a destination charge of $925. That makes for $32,225 in total to get one off the lot, a price predicted as early as last year and in our recent First Drive. The other two available models can push power to all four wheels, and after the destination fee is applied the GLA240 4Matic (pictured) will be $34,225 while the 355-horsepower GLA45 AMG will change lives and wallets to the tune of $49,225.
On the base scale, that puts the GLA250 just a few hundred dollar bills above the more powerful, rear-wheel drive BMW X1 and a stack of hundreds below the less powerful, front-wheel drive Audi Q3. If you're keeping in-house score, the GLA250 comes in at $1,400 above its sedan platform-mate with the same engine, the CLA250. At the high end, however, the competition doesn't have anything that can touch the AMG trim. Not that it should matter all that much - Mercedes needed something to keep these buyers in the family, and now they have it. If any of them should need even more power and more money spent, then there's always that 394-hp Brabus flavor. We'll have more info and details on each trim when Mercedes unleashes the shebang in the not-too-distant future.
Long-wheelbase sedans are a pretty hot commodity in China, and to keep up with the competition, Mercedes-Benz has introduced an extended version of the 2014 E-Class sedan at the Shanghai Motor Show. Audi, BMW, Volvo and even Cadillac offer extended versions of sedans specific to the Chinese market, and now the E-Class L, shown off in E400L guise, will give luxury sedan buyers in China yet another option.
Compared to the standard 2014 E-Class sedan, the new China-spec E-Class L has been stretched by 5.5 inches - all of which goes to the rear-seat passengers. According to an article on China View from earlier in the year, the market for chauffeur-driven cars is growing in the Asian nation, so automakers need long-wheelbase models like the E-Class L in order to fully compete. As for what powers this stretched E-Class, it's available in three models: the diesel E260L, the V6-powered E300L and the E400 Hybrid.
The redesigned E-Class and the all-new A-Class are just the first of 20 new Mercedes-Benz products that will be introduced into the Chinese auto market by 2015. Scroll down for the full press release on long-wheelbase E.